John popped the question and we’re getting married! How did we get to this pivotal moment? Well let me back up. Two single people walk into a bar… and the rest is history. John and I met at Sharkeez in Newport Beach, an unlikely meeting place for a successful relationship, but even in the most unromantic of locations God knew that we both would be there August 23rd, 2014 when the clock struck midnight.
Fast forward two and a half years later to 2017 and we traveled across the world to Israel for adventure and to visit the holy land of Jesus. Little did I know, John had even bigger plans for the vacation because he knew he was going to be asking me to marry him. Back in October, John asked my father for my hand in marriage during our family’s annual apple country trip to Oak Glen. John shared with my dad that he was planning to propose on our vacation with his blessing, and Mr. Kelley had no objections! I’ll always be thankful that John and my dad were able to have that precious future father-in-law/son conversation!
On January 7, 2017, (1.7.17- a complete coincidence of the date) John found the perfect moment to propose alongside the Jordan River. We were on a group tour where earlier that day, we had visited the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth, both incredibly spiritual memories. Our last stop on the tour was Yardenit, aka the site at the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. I had no idea what Yardenit was before we arrived because I assumed it was another small city in Israel that we had just never heard of. We were given 30 minutes of free time to roam the grounds, but ever since booking our trip to Israel, John talked about getting baptized in the Jordan River, so we made our every attempt make this moment happen.
We needed to purchase a baptismal gown, but the lines were long, the clock was ticking, and we were losing valuable time to just see the site. We took matters into our own hands and decided to ‘baptize’ each other. If we couldn’t be submerged in the water where Jesus was baptized, then we would still find a way to proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ. There were two pathways down to the baptismal site at the river. One was crowded with people in line waiting to be baptized, the other, quiet and serene with no one around. We walked down the empty pathway and knelt by the calm waters. I had decided to ‘baptize’ John first. I am by no means a pastor, so I racked my brain for the right words to say.
“Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”
“Do you believe he died for you and rose on the third day?”
“Then this baptism is a symbol of dying to self and being born again in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.”
Something along those lines, anyway! And just like that, I cupped my hands and picked up water from the Jordan River and poured it over John.
Before it was John’s turn to ‘baptize’ me, he ran to find our tour guide to take photos of the process. Unbeknownst to me, John had a surprise up his sleeve. John made his way back to the water and asked me to repeat the questions he was supposed to recite for my ‘baptism.’ After he cupped his hands and poured the water on my head, he said he had one more question. Already kneeling down by the water, “Will you marry me?”
1. The Prayer
2. The ‘Baptism’
3. The Question
4. The ‘She Said Really?’ and then the YES!
“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.” Luke 3: 21-22
John reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone with pictures of my diamond ring in a rose gold setting. His mom, a jewelry designer by trade, designed the ring for me and John explained that it was waiting for us at home. Because John didn’t want to risk losing the ring or spoiling the surprise, he brought a ‘stand in’ ring for me to wear for the remainder of the trip that he had back at our hotel. Although he was ‘ring-less’ in the moment of the proposal (his original plan was to propose the next day-on our last day in Jerusalem), he said that this moment just felt right, so he went for it and it couldn’t have been more perfect!
I obviously said YES, but not before I asked “really?” at least three times. Here we are almost 5 months later with BIG ideas for our small wedding! We are taking our time saving for the wedding of our dreams, potentially a destination oversees, fitting for our itch to travel the world. You only get to be engaged once, so we will enjoy being Fianceé and Fiancé for as long as possible!
A special thank you to John’s brother, Marc Downing for capturing our Engagement Photos back home!
Have a blessed week!